Sir Francis Bacon Books




Sir Francis Bacon



Easton Press Sir Francis Bacon books:
The Essays of Sir Francis Bacon - 1980

Franklin Library Sir Francis Bacon books:
Selected Writings of Sir Francis Bacon : Advancement of Learning, New Atlantis, and Novum Organum - Great Books of the Western World - 1980
Writings of Sir Francis Bacon - 100 Greatest Books of All Time - 1982



Sir Francis Bacon, 1st baron of Verulam and Viscount St. Albans (1561 - 1626), was an English philosopher and statesman, born at York House, in the Strand, London, and educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University. Francis Bacon served as a member of Parliament for Melcombe Regis in 1584, for Taunton in 1586, and for Middlesex in 1593. He sought to attract the attention of Queen Elizabeth in 1584 by addressing a letter of advice to her. This letter was ignored, and in 1593 he offended the queen by opposing in Parliament the grant of subsidy. Later, however, he acquired power and influence at court, and in the last years of Elizabeth's reign tried to act the part of mediator between crown and the House of Commons, and recommended a tolerant policy in Ireland. On the accession of James I (1603), he sought royal favor by extravagant profession of loyalty, and by planning schemes both for the union of England and Scotland and for pacifying the Church of England on comprehensive lines. For these efforts he was knighted on July 23, 1602, was made a commissioner for the union of Scotland and England, and was given a pension of 60 pounds a year in 1604. His he advancement of Learning was published and presented to the King in 1605. He was appointed solicitor general in 1607.

In the last session of the first Parliament held under James I (February, 1611), the differences between crown and commons grew critical, and Francis Bacon resumed his former role of mediator, although he confessed his distrust of James' chief minister, Robert Cecil (now created Lord Salisbury). On Salisbury's death in 161, Francis Bacon informed the Kind that he was willing to devote himself to the King's interests and undertook, in Parliament, to effect reconciliation between crown and commons. On October 27, 1613, he was promoted to the attorney generalship.

In 1616 Francis Bacon became a privy councilor, and in 1618, Lord Chancellor; in the last year he was raised to the peerage Baron Verulam. The title was taken from Verulamium, the Latin name of St. Albans, near which lay Francis Bacon's estate of Gorhambury. In 1620 his Novum Organum was published; andon January 26, 1621, he was created Viscount St. Albans. But his fall was now at hand. He was charged by Parliament with accepting bribes, and in the ensuing trial confessed to "corruption and neglect", for which he stated he was "heartily and penitently sorry". Francis Bacon then submitted himself to the will of his fellow peers, who ordered him fined 40,000 pounds, imprisoned during the King's pleasure, and banished from Parliament and the court. On his release from imprisonment he retired to his family residence at Gorhambury. In September the King pardoned him, but declined to allow him to return to Parliament or the court. Francis Bacon then engaged in literary work, completing his History of Henry VII and his Latin translation of The Advancement of Learning (De Augmentis). In March, 1622, he offered to make digest of the laws, but no further notice was taken of him in spite of the frequent petitions that he addressed to the Duke of Buckingham, James I, and James' successor, Charles I.

Francis Bacon's literary work may be divided in to philosophical, purely literary, and professional writing. His Philosophical appears in The Advancement of Learning (1605), a review in English of the state of knowledge in his own time; De Augmentis Scientiarum (1623), a Latin expression of the Advancement; and Novum Organum, or Indications respecting the interpretations of Nature (1620) which was intended to form the second book of a never completed greater treatise, Instauratio Magna, a review an encyclopedia of all knowledge. To the Novum Organum, preliminary drafts are to found in a number of detached pieces, such as Cogitata et Visa and Temporis Partus Masculas, was prefixed a Distributio Operis, a plan of the greater work. In Historia Ventorum (1622), Historia Vitoe et Mortis (1623), Historia Densi et Rari(1658), and Sylva Sylvarum (1627), materials for the other portions of the Instauratio are extant, chiefly facts of natural history.

Francis Bacon's greatness as a philosopher consists in his repeated insistence on his belief that man is the servant and interpreter of nature, that truth is not derived from authority, and that knowledge is the fruit of experience.

Francis Bacon is generally credited with having contributed to logic the method known as ampliative inference, a technique of the inductive method. Previous logicians had practiced induction by simple enumeration, i.e., drawing general conclusions from a number of particular data. Francis Bacon's method was to infer by use of analogy, from the characteristics or properties of the larger group to which that datum belonged, leaving to later experience the correction of evident errors. This method, making possible more boldness in the promulgation of hypotheses, was a fundamental precondition for the advancement of science.

Francis Bacon's Ovum Organism did much toward imbuing science with a spirit of unbiased and accurate observation and experimentation. In it he maintained that all prejudices and preconceived attitudes, which he called "idols" must be abandoned, weather they be the common property of the race due to common modes of thought ("idols of the tribe"), or the peculiar possession of the individual ("idols of the cave");whether they arise from too great a dependence on language ("idols of the marketplace"), or from tradition ('idols of the theater")

Francis Bacon's Essays, his chief contributions to literature, were published at various times between 1597 and 1625. His History of Henry VII (1622) shows scholarly research. In his fanciful New Atlantis, Francis Bacon suggests the formation of scientific academies. Bacon's professional works embrace Maxims of the Law (1630), Reading on the Statute of Uses (1642), Pleadings in Law cases, and speeches in Parliament.

Without doubt Francis Bacon and his writings had a profound influence on future English philosophy and World philosophy. This along with his other life accomplishments has earned him the deserved place in history.







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